Thursday, September 11, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Pretzel Bites with Caramel Dipping Sauce

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I have decided that I can't jump on the pumpkin bandwagon quite yet. I just don't feel like being quite that predictable today. But still, I have to do something seasonal, right? You guys seems to like that sort of thing.

So of course I thought of the next most obvious thing: Apples. But how could I make it different and unique? Of course! I must do something I hardly ever do, ever, ever, ever.... pretzels!

Okay, so maybe I'm really just being a broken record like usual, but come on. I made salted caramel sauce. That has to count for something.

P.S. Question: Did I photoshop my thumb into a blur in the following photo so that you could not see how disgustingly I chewed up my nail?

Possibly. But that's beside the point. Make these pretzel bites. You'll thank me later.

    • Apple Cinnamon Pretzel Bites with Caramel Dipping Sauce
      Makes about 5 dozen bites
      Adapted from this Auntie Anne's copycat recipe
    • Ingredients for the pretzel dough:
      1 cup milk
      1 tablespoon (1 packet) active dry yeast
      3 tablespoons brown sugar
      2 tablespoons butter, melted
      5 cups flour (plus more for rolling)
      1 teaspoon fine salt
      1/2 cup chopped apple pieces (maybe about 1 centimeter cubes)
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

      3 tablespoons baking soda 
    • 1 cup  warm water
      8 tablespoons butter, melted in a shallow dish
      1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
      2 teaspoon cinnamon

    • Instructions:
      Warm up the milk in the microwave or on the stove for just about one and a half minutes. It should be about 110º. If it's too hot it will kill the yeast. You should be able to comfortably keep your finger in it. Stir in the yeast and let it sit for about 3 minutes. Add the butter and sugar. Add the flour about 1 cup at a time and the add the fine salt. Kneed for about 10 minutes with a stand mixer or by hand.
    • Add the chopped apples, cinnamon, and another tablespoon of flour (I found that that just helped the apples mix in better). Mix until well combined. Put it in a greased bowl and cover with greased cling wrap. Let rise for 1 hour in a moist, warm place until doubled in size. 
    • Preheat the oven to 450º. Punch down dough and divide into 4 lumps. Allow to rest for 10 minutes (I have found this makes it easier to roll them for some reason). Combine the baking soda and warm water in a wide, shallow dish.
    • Roll each lump into a long rope, about 1 inch thick. Dip in the baking soda water. Cut each rope with a sharp, serrated knife into about 15 pieces.
    • Place the pieces on a well greased baking sheet and bake for about 7-11 minutes or until browned.
    • Melt the 8 tablespoons of butter in a wide, shallow dish and in another wide, shallow dish combine the sugars and cinnamon. Dip the hot pretzel bites into the butter and then into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve with salted caramel dipping sauce (recipe below).

    • Ingredients for the Salted Caramel Dipping Sauce:
      1/2 cup white sugar
      2 tablespoons corn syrup
      1/3 cup heavy cream
      3 tablespoons butter
      1/4 teaspoon salt
      1 teaspoon vanilla

    • Instructions:
    • Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until it becomes a dark caramel color (be careful not to burn!). Immediately add the butter and cream (be careful, it will bubble up). Add the salt and vanilla. It will thicken as it cools.

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